Inspiration and Inclusion

I believe that all children and adults, regardless of ability, should have the opportunity to experience the beauty of nature and learn more about conserving our environment,” says writer and advocate, Karin Willison. The adventure travel blogger and editor at The Mighty will be the featured presenter at Dunes Learning Center’s annual gala, A Dunes Affair, at Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton on Friday, September 16.

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The Power of Camp

Swimming in the lake, goofy songs learned around a campfire, the chatter of birds as you walk through dew-damp grass on the way to breakfast. If you were lucky enough to attend summer camp as a child, you probably have cherished memories of it. And why not? Camp is one of the few places where kids can be kids while satisfying their need for physical activity, creative expression, and true participation in an accepting and nurturing environment.

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Getting Serious About Play

Our programs are built around curriculum- and field-based experiences including trail side ecosystem investigations, living history encounters, and nocturnal explorations. And yet it is often the time periods between these planned activities when we see kids begin to come out of their shells and interact creatively with nature. Rocks are overturned, critter shelters are built, and kids begin to connect with their environment in a new way. 

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The Nature of Learning

On December 10, 2015, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act into law. The much-anticipated bill supports environmental literacy and conservation curricula as a part of a well-rounded education and highlights the power of field study and service learning to enhance science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

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Aligning Learning and Nature

Giggles sprouted between the tall blades of switchgrass while Mighty Acorns, hard at work, gathered seeds this fall for the prairie seed exchange.  Students worked in pairs, gently pulling closed hands over the ends of flowered spikelets to collect the seeds and deposit in paper bags.  Across the park, triumphant roars and surprised laughter erupted from another group of kids playing “The Great Food Chase,” a new game introduced by this fall’s updated Mighty Acorns curriculum.

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Mighty Acorns Summer Campers Are Ready To Learn

A cacophony of laughter, squeals and joy spills from the banks of the Little Calumet as Mighty Acorns campers participate in Hoosier Riverwatch on a hot Tuesday afternoon. Water sloshes over the tops of each student's rain boots, all caught in the moment of exploring the river’s ecosystem. Crayfish wiggle between excited campers’ fingers as they compare who caught the largest, while another group use a portable lab kit to test the chemical properties of the water. Through the mud, splashing, and found critters, kids learn firsthand the importance of local watersheds and why they need protecting. Most importantly, learning has a lasting impact through jubilant interaction with the environment.

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